On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Dr. Margaret Goodman, a neurologist, the former chair of the Medical Advisory Board of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, and the president and board chairman of VADA, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.
This is another in a series of discussions celebrating the tenth anniversary of this No Holds Barred podcast, which began in March 2006. These interviews will focus both on the legacy and issues raised over the years on this show, as well as contemporary issues and the future of the combat sports and martial arts.
We spoke with Dr. Margaret Goodman by phone Monday.
There is hardly a day without a report, discussion, or analysis of doping in sports. Even a decade ago, this was not the case, particularly in the combat and contact sports. Yet today, issues like doping, as well as athlete safety, brain trauma, and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), regularly appear in the headlines and are the main topics in the news and on discussion shows. It has taken time for public awareness of these issues and the crises for sport they entail to grow to a critical mass, but that is where we are today.
"I think that public awareness, and the public, the fans that watch these sports, asking questions, demanding answers to those questions, keeping on top of the sports, and even with the athletic commissions and the media asking questions, I think changes do come," said Dr. Goodman.
"The public is more and more aware of this," she said, and urged, "I think that it's really important for the average boxing fan and MMA fan to ask questions, to find out as much information as they can."
More and more transparency on these issues and more and more people asking questions, she said, "this is what really will evoke changes."
We discussed many specific issues, including that of the many suspensions of athletes for using the banned substance meldonium; why many of these suspensions have now been lifted; drug-testing in MMA including the UFC-USADA program; the World Boxing Council (WBC) working directly with VADA on testing fighters and the WBC Clean Boxing Program; the growing list of top-rated boxers who are part of VADA's anti-doping program; the lack of uniformity in drug and medical testing of fighters, both around the U.S. and the world; Bellator MMA's booking of Kimbo Slice for a fight in the U.K. right after he tested positive for using a steroid from his February fight and was suspended for three months and had his fighter's license revoked by the Texas commission; the dangers of brain injuries in. and the relative safety of, boxing and MMA; whether or not bare knuckle boxing can be safer than boxing with gloves; the ethics of watching and covering such dangerous sports as boxing and MMA; the need for a national commission for boxing and MMA, for MMA to be included in the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act, and for international regulation of these sports; the importance of the recent film "Concussion" about Dr. Bennet Omalu; how repeated sub-concussive blows to the head must be examined and not just full concussions; an upcoming WBC webinar; and much, much more.
The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.
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